signs of flat feet in need of a Lee's Summit podiatristFlat feet, or pes planus, is a condition that causes the entire sole of the foot to make contact with the ground. Fallen arches are common, but this condition can lead to significant pain and discomfort if the misalignment of the foot is not properly addressed. 

Experienced Lee’s Summit podiatrist Dr. Joel Foster treats flat feet in both children and adults. And, since Dr. Foster’s office utilizes a direct-pay model that puts decision-making back in the hands of the patient, you’ll be able to choose the treatment that is most effective for your unique needs instead of worrying about the limitations of your insurance coverage. 

Identifying Flat Feet

Flat feet can be identified at home in several different ways:

  • Visual examination. While standing, if you observe that the inside of your foot is in contact with the ground and there is little or no visible arch, it's an indication of flat feet.
  • Arch height test. You can do a basic arch height test by sitting on a chair and placing your foot on a flat surface with your legs hanging naturally. If the arch of your foot flattens or nearly disappears, you might have flat feet.
  • Foot movement. Observe how your feet move when you walk. If your feet roll excessively inward (pronate) while walking or running, it could be an indicator of flat feet.
  • Shoe wear patterns. Examine the wear patterns on the soles of your shoes. If the inside of the sole wears out more quickly than the outside, it might suggest overpronation, a common issue associated with flat feet.
  • Footprint test. Wet the soles of your feet and step onto a piece of paper or a surface that will leave a visible footprint. If your footprint shows almost the entire sole of your foot with little to no curve on the inside, you might have flat feet. For further clarification, compare your standing footprint to one made while sitting in a chair. 

Some people with flat feet have no obvious symptoms, but the most common symptoms associated with this condition include:

  • Pain or discomfort, especially around the arches and heels.
  • Tired or achy feet, particularly after prolonged periods of standing or walking.
  • Swelling along the inside of the ankle.
  • Lower back, knee, or hip pain due to the altered biomechanics of the flat feet impacting other joints.

Flat Feet in Children

Babies and young children often appear to have flat feet due to the presence of a thick pad of fat in the arch area. However, by the age of six, most children will have developed normal arches.

There are two main types of flat feet seen in children: flexible and rigid. 

  • Flexible flat feet have arches that are visible when the child is sitting or standing on tiptoe, but the arch disappears when the child stands flat on their feet. 
  • Rigid flat feet have no visible arch, regardless of foot position.

Many people mistakenly believe that a child’s flat feet aren’t a cause for concern. However, it’s important to be proactive when it comes to managing your child’s foot health. Even if your son or daughter is currently experiencing no pain or discomfort due to their flat feet, there is a strong possibility that they’ll encounter problems as they age. Just as you would invest in braces to protect your child’s smile, taking steps to treat flat feet ensures your son or daughter can continue to lead an active lifestyle for many years to come.

Flat Feet in Adults

As a person ages, the ligaments and tendons in the feet may weaken, leading to a loss of arch height and potentially causing flat feet. Other causes of flat feet in adults include:

  • Injury. Trauma to the foot or ankle, such as fractures or sprains, can alter the foot's structure and possibly the development of flat feet.
  • Obesity. Excess weight can strain the feet, which may cause the arches to collapse over time.
  • Pregnancy. During pregnancy, hormonal changes and weight gain affect foot structure, sometimes leading to temporary or permanent flat feet.
  • Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD). The posterior tibial tendon plays a crucial role in supporting the foot arch. PTTD is a condition where this tendon becomes inflamed or damaged, which could weaken and gradually flatten the foot arch.
  • Arthritis. Various forms of arthritis, especially rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, affect the foot's joints and tissues. If the condition affects the joints between foot bones in the arch, it might cause the arch to collapse.
  • Nerve-related conditions. Certain neurological disorders, such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease or muscular dystrophy, cause muscle weakness and imbalances in the foot, potentially flattening the arch. 

In adults, untreated flat feet can lead to additional foot issues such as plantar fasciitis, ankle instability, and shin splints. 

How Lee’s Summit Podiatrist Dr. Joel Foster Helps Children and Adults Treat Their Flat Feet

If you or your child have signs of flat feet, we encourage you to make an appointment to visit our office to discuss the most effective way to address the condition.

Treatment options for flat feet often include supportive footwear, custom orthotics, and the use of pain-relieving medications. These treatments can help alleviate discomfort, but it’s important to keep in mind that they don’t address the root cause of the problem.

Dr. Foster often recommends HyProCure to stabilize the subtalar joint, correct abnormal foot alignment, and prevent the arch from collapsing due to hyperpronation. This is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that requires no bone cutting or tendon transfer—making HyProCure an effective first-line treatment for flat feet in both children and adults. As one of the most experienced HyProCure surgeons in the Midwest, Dr. Foster has helped hundreds of patients get back to enjoying pain-free active lifestyles—and he’s ready to do the same for you.